Radyo Natin

NGO educates Badjao tribe settled in Leyte town

ISABEL, Leyte — A French non-government organization has been working in this town's Badjao community to end the culture of mendicancy through education and establishment of relocation site for the tribe.
Architect Christophe Cormy Donat, founder of the French non-government organization known as IKIKO, visited this town in 2015 and returned three months ago. His team is composed of four experts tasked to implement sustainable living projects for the tribe.
"Our mission is to help them protect the environment and encourage them to gain education and formal training so they will stop begging," he said.
Donat is anxious that the ethnic group members may lose their tradition if they would continue to dwell in urban areas.
"That is why we are making a community for them that is a little bit far from the town but near the sea where they can catch fish and continue their traditional way of living as sea nomads," Donat said.
IKIKO has been building houses for each of the 50 Badjao families with more than 350 individuals. The group is targeting to finish their project before the end of this year and to turn over it to recipients by January 2017.
Badjao tribe leader Jerry Sapayan said some of their members refuse to transfer to the new location, but they don't have any choice because they don't own the lot.
Apart from building houses, the group also builds sanitary toilets and community facility for social gatherings and classes for the Department of Education's Alternative Learning System.
The group also teaches the community to recycle plastic bottles and plastic bags and process it to decorative materials.
Donat believes that teaching the tribe people to recycle will also open their mind to take care of the environment, where they get their source of living.
"At first it was really hard when we start, but as days goes by, they started to show willingness to learn," Donat said.
The group found that Badjaos "live exclusively from fishing, and unfortunately they catch fewer and fewer fish, due to over-fishing by freighters coming from Taiwan and Hong Kong, plastic ocean pollution and destructive fishing practices utilized by other subsistence fishers."
Poverty pushed children from the village to go to the market place to beg for food and money.
The Badjao tribe fled Mindanao due to piracy and migrated to this town in 1986 where they built makeshift houses near the port area.
For almost three decades, the tribe members survived from fishing. During the holiday season, some of them travel to major commercial areas such as Ormoc City and Tacloban City to beg alms. (PNA)

Last Modified: 2021-Jul-22 19.32.39 UTC+0800